This morning, we’re waking up with our local news in East Tennessee giving us all a Heads Up – to get outside and soak up as much of this warm day as we all can.
Common sense. You keep your eyes on the weather when you raise livestock. In fact – I do my best to check on expectations for oncoming nights in our area – before I head out to take care of evening feeding.
We’ve been preparing. All the stalls have been stripped and prepped. All the water trough heaters are hooked up outside and inside the barn – ready to be plugged in. Yes – even inside the barn.
The troughs inside the barn even froze when temps sank down into the teens last year. That provoked an immediate investment in the heaters. Talk about a Godsend! We highly recommend those sanity savers. It’s worth extending heavy-duty outdoor construction extension cords to hook those puppies up!
All the paddocks have been harrowed. Dwayne had to replace hinges on one of the barn doors – after I found one of the pins had fallen out of the bottom hinge. They just don’t make good hinges like they once did. Nothing like those heavy-duty steel welded hinges.
He took out the bottom bridge of that same door – pounding in anchors for support and using wood screws to secure them to the door frame for support. That left a gape under the barn door – which he attached an apron for covering. Otherwise – that barn will feel like it has a double window sitting wide open when those cold North Winds come to visit.
Tie rings that Dwayne had mounted inside stalls were moved to outside – in the alley. Original placement was just wrong. Lead ropes were being run through the water trough that sits through the wall between the stalls. When you have a calf that’s been left with a lead rope clasped to their halter for training – running all around the paddock and then falling into the water they drink?
We don’t do that here. If we’re not willing to drink it – our cows aren’t drinking it! If there’s one thing we’re anal about here – it’s the water our cows drink. I cannot deal with dirty water troughs and buckets! And yeah – I know. I’m very well aware of all the ‘other’ sources where cows are known to drink water. Those are not my cows. And I’m able to spoil mine. Plenty of other ways around here for them to pick up other sources that can help build their immunity!
So far – weather reports for our area show that tomorrow evening will be the time to make sure everyone has their shelters bedded extra to hunker down and stay warm. We’re expecting those cold north winds. Anna – Beatrice – and Helena will be coming inside the barn to stay in stalls. Aon and Seamus will be coming inside to stay in the barn alley.
This set-up has proven to make for an atmosphere for our cattle during winter that has become one more reason they all love coming into the barn. We make it very comfortable for them. They’re not exactly as tiny as mice. The confines can begin to feel quite tight – after a while.
We’re picky about the weather scenarios when it comes to letting them outside during this time of the season. They’re kept inside when temps are below 30* – unless there’s no wind and plenty of sunshine. Otherwise – we keep them inside.
Cleaning up after them is just part of feeding them – morning and evening. I go out a couple times more during the day to see if they’re standing and needing hay. I pick up any manure piles I find at that time – as well. No reason to buy a bigger mess later.
And of course – to break the monotony – I leave ‘em all guessing when I’ll be coming out to give everybody Alfalfa cubes – their favorite treat.
Once they’re all set to wait out this one – it’s all about getting ready to make the Chicken ‘n Dumplin’s. Make sure we have plenty of my personal concocted Cocoa Mix – and Milk. Got all the ingredients for making fresh bread. Batches of different soups and stews are already canned and frozen.
My ultimate goal is to get to do more sewing in the next week. Cross your fingers for me. In between morning and evening feedings and barn chores – there’s always Laundry – Prepping and cooking Supper. I’ve got Animal Histories to burn onto CD’s – 2 dogs to bathe – bathrooms to clean – floors to vacuum and mop – laundry – and – of course – more studying. Always more studying. Somewhere in there – grocery shopping – and a trip to Costco in Knoxville.
Never a Day Off. And sometimes – I wish I really could trade places with Dwayne.